Yale Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Volume 7, Issue 1
fall 2016
Editor, Geetanjali Singh Chanda
Managing Editors, Linda Hase & Moe Gardner
Layout Design, Nick Appleby

Gender in North Africa (WGSS 243)

by Rebecca Persson '19

Gender in North Africa, taught by Professor Zakia Salime, provides a thorough, interdisciplinary study on gender in North Africa and its association with notions of colonial knowledge and production, orientalist and liberal literature, the state, local communities and familial networks, the diaspora and the labor market, as well as societal constructs of masculinity. Beginning the course with a chronicle of the region's geopolitical history and encounters with orientalist narratives, we then approached the subject with a particular emphasis on positionality, contextuality and rhetoric, with the objective of developing a critical awareness of the methodologies and theoretical frameworks employed in this field of research. Through submitting weekly reactions on the readings, drawing from a wealth of notable scholars including Marc Schade-Poulsen, Paula Helmes-Eber and Professor Salime herself, the aim has been to develop a critical understanding of intersectionality. The inclusion of weekly "Media Watches" further speaks to the course's stress on the significance of constructing parallels between scholarly accounts explored in our readings, and contemporary examples drawn from a wealth of magazines and newspapers. The class presentation, concentrating on individual enquiry into a particular sub-topic of interest, allowed for remarkable flexibility and self-exploration as we probed into the gendered nuances of topics ranging from women's role in Tunisia post-Arab Spring, to an analysis of the tropes evident in The Battle of Algiers. This course has truly been fantastic in both the wealth of content and knowledge it has bestowed and the conversations it has encouraged. I would highly urge everyone to consider enrolling in Professor Salime's spring course, as she is an incredibly approachable and beyond accomplished professor and scholar that I have been very grateful to have been able to learn from.

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